Lazy Mini Painter – Painting Eyes

One thing that often comes up when painting models is the inevitably tricky bit – eyes.  Honestly, eyes are a real pain to paint well, take ages, and really aren’t too important to a 28mm model viewed from 3 feet away.  If you are painting for a competition, you need to do it well.  Painting for the battlefield?  You’ll make the model look worse a lot of the time.  Here, in increasing order of difficulty, are a list of techniques to simulate eyes with greater or lesser effect.

  1. Use a flesh or sepia wash over the face, which will darken the eye hollows anyway.  This is often part of standard painting, and honestly, looks pretty good.
  2. Go a step up from just the wash, and paint a dark colour like a brown on the eye before the wash.  This will add definition, make the model look a little less sleepy, but still be easy, quick and effective.  Gary Chalk recommends this level for tabletop  figures, for example.
  3. Go another step up, and paint a light colour over the brown.  DO NOT PAINT WHITE.  Its a really common mistake, but white actually looks terrible for eyes. A cream or light grey is far more effective.
  4. Get cocky, and dot the eye.  Its surprisingly difficult, but you can cheat quite well – use a technical pen to dot the eye instead of a brush!
  5. This is where we start getting tricky.  At this level – instead of painting the whole eye in a lighter colour, paint in white at each edge of the eye over the brown, and leave the brown in the centre.  Its much easier to centre the eyes better this way than dotting them, and easier to tidy up.
  6. We’re getting way out of Lazy Mini Painter territory here, so you should be looking at dedicated guides from this point up!  Essentially we start adding more detail – a little touch of white on the pupil, just off to one side matching the same point as the imaginary light source for all your highlights now makes the eye look much more vibrant and convincing.

Hopefully these suggestions help you start getting models done quickly and effectively!  Unfortunately, no matter how many lazy tips you adopt, practice still saves you the most time in the long run!

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